Mar 14th 2008
By Dave Burt, CPA - About 20 years ago I use to read this magazine that would run Dewar’s ads that would profile top executives from big name firms. Usually, they were CEO’s or Presidents or alike. The ads would tout their accomplishments, education, etc, and list their favorite books and favorite drink (Dewar’s, of course.) One of the books that kept coming up over and over was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie first published in 1937. I decided to investigate Mr. Carnegie’s works and, in the end, it changed my life. After about five years of practicing winning friends (did I mention I had only one to start?) I was, professionally and personally, a new man. Well, let’s say, a better manager, at least. To begin this transformation, I did just what Dale instructed (influenced little self-centered) me to do by cutting out (a copy of) the summary of techniques offered at the end of each chapter. I laminated them and placed them in places where I would surely not misplace. The following are his (3) Fundamental Techniques in Handling People:
“Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” While that sounds hard, and it is, it does require you to think about what you are going to say before you say it. Which, oh, forlorn, we don’t, often enough. So, to make it easier on me, I developed a habit. I would only talk in fact and feelings. I got this from Dragnet’s Jack Webb when he would say to the overly excited landlady, “Just the facts, madam, just the facts.” It is just as powerful, if not twice so; to just point out that an entry was made wrong, then to condemn some poor staff accountant, who, most likely already knows about the error and is already living in chagrin.
“Give people a feeling of importance; praise the good parts of them.” Now I’ve heard that the body’s desire to feel important is ranked second only to the desire for an ice cold beer with a Mexican meal. Let’s give you an example. Needing a pick me up after lunch, I got in the habit of fixing a pot of Starbucks in the afternoon and offering to share it with the “guys” in Quality Control. So it wouldn’t go to waste, of course. When, occasionally, I would forget or didn’t feel like it, I would hear cry’s of “You don’t like us anymore!” I’ve a hunch that they felt important to be asked to share a pot of coffee. Such minor things aren’t, sometimes.
“Get the other person to do what you want them to by arousing their desires.” Don’t we all want everyone else in the office to do what we want them to do? C’mon, you know you do! We don’t want them to be robots, just get their work done without gossiping or arrive on time most of the time or become mysteriously errorless. We want, as managers, to have them do whatever makes our life easier. Right, so, how do we do that? We must first make them want to make our life easier. They need to desire to see us smile as we gaze over our little fiefdom. Well, how? What’s the secret, pal? That, my friend, can be found in one or more of Dale’s Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking:
• “Avoid arguments."
• "Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong."
• "If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically."
• "Begin in a friendly way."
• "Start with questions the other person will answer yes to."
• “Let the other person do the talking."
• "Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers."
• "Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view."
• "Sympathize with the other person."
• "Appeal to noble motives."
• "Dramatize your ideas."
• "Throw down a challenge."